Music designer and producer Virgil Abloh, one of the most revolutionary figures in the luxury and fashion industry streetwear In the last decade through his signature Off White and as creative director of the Louis Vuitton men’s line, he died this Sunday of cancer at the age of 41 in Chicago.
The death of the creator, announced through his personal Instagram account, has impacted the fashion industry, since Abloh had kept his illness private, made public after his death. In a statement, it is reported that Abloh was diagnosed in 2019 with “a rare and aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma,” and that he had undergone various treatments since then. “Regardless, his work ethic, endless curiosity, and optimism never wavered. (…) He often said: ‘Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself’, deeply believing in the power of art to inspire future generations, ”the note explains.
From the LVMH group, where Abloh had been the designer of the Louis Vuitton men’s line since 2018 and had taken over 60% of Off White in July this year, a statement was also issued lamenting the death with a statement from the owner from luxury conglomerate Bernard Arnault: “We are all shocked by this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me at this time of great grief, and we are all thinking of their loved ones after the passing of their husband, father, brother or friend ”.
“Virgil Abloh, who changed what was possible in fashion, is dead,” wrote the renowned fashion critic from The New York Times Vanessa Friedman. No one could be contrary to him. Since he founded Off White in 2012, it has become the most influential brand on the planet, according to the Lyst index, which calculates the impact of a firm in the cultural sphere. The creator redefined the notion of luxury through his vision of streetwear, which made everything he touched, from sneakers to belts, a millennial obsession.
Allergic to the word ‘designer’ and labeled the “Andy Warhol of this generation” by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (his hometown), which dedicated a retrospective to him in 2018, Abloh has been a true disruptor in the art industry. trends. In addition to being the definitive hinge between urban fashion and luxury, his figure could be labeled as that of a multifaceted creator who combined music (he was a music producer and came to work as a DJ with residencies in the pre-pandemic summers of Ibiza), design beyond of fashion and had a marketing relentless – he collaborated with a multitude of brands during his career, from Nike to Ikea to Evian.
A personal friend of Kanye West since meeting him on a shared internship at Fendi after graduating in civil engineering, Abloh launched into Milan with Off White after the sale sweatshirts he rebuilt through his first venture in fashion, Pyrex , will win fans and devotees like Rihanna or Jay Z. His first feminine line arrived at the Fashion Week in Paris in 2014, was finalist of the prestigious LVMH and the certification of his status as King Midas of the streetwear came with the Ten sneaker collection, which he designed in collaboration with Nike.
In 2018, he landed at Louis Vuitton as creative director, becoming the first African-American to land that position. Politically involved – he allied himself with artist Jenny Holzer to criticize Donald Trump’s immigration strategy – Abloh was a staunch defender of multiculturalism. “I have always worked to produce impressive and meaningful collections, but that is more important than ever for me now,” he explained a few days ago to With Fashion in an interview pending publication. Today, Abloh was called upon to surpass a new goal: he was to open Louis Vuitton’s second all-male store in Miami on the occasion of Art Basel. There he had an interview scheduled with this newspaper that will not be able to take place. The creator was married and had two children. Last July he had been promoted to a new position within LVMH that would have allowed him to work across all 75 of the group’s brands. He would have become the most powerful black executive in the most powerful luxury group in the world.
Virgil Abloh: “I went to the Reina Sofía museum to get ideas for Louis Vuitton”
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